Sadly, the popular freeware recommendation site and community Gizmo Freeware is shutting down. Gizmo is/was a site that offered free, non-commercial advice for those who wanted to locate the best freeware for their particular needs. The internet archive shows that they've been in operation since at least December of 2000, a full twenty years. I personally have been a member of their site for more than five years. They were an inspiration for Doakio, our own site that compares and contrasts software solutions, including commercial applications.
Update: Turns out Gizmo Freeware shut down on July 12th, three days ahead of their announced July 15th end date. We reached out to Gizmo Freeware to see if there was any way that we here at Doakio could help them stay online. They responded:
“We had a board meeting yesterday and discussed all our options again. While your and other offers hold some opportunities, we have finally decided to go ahead and close the site as planned.”
The services Gizmo offered, and the community they built was truly unique. So in that sense, there really is no “replacing” Gizmo. But people still need the community, the advice, and freeware solutions that were curated with such care and passion by “Gizmo” Richards (who retired from the site just seven months ago) and so many other volunteers and editors.
In this article we will suggest some other sites that you can use to find free utilities and software. Obviously if you are looking for software comparisons that include paid/commercial solutions, you can check out our own research here at Doakio! We definitely include free software in our research. And we've already published a comprehensive list of our own competitors. But the solutions we list below focus exclusively on comparison sites that only list free software:
In no particular order:
This site was created by a team behind several other popular blogs like I LoveFree Software, and Windows 8 Freeware. They put together List of Freeware as a central location where you can go to find everything relating to Freeware.
They do have Disqus comments enabled on each post, but there seems to be very little in the way of community involvement or engagement.
Previously called WebAttack, Snapfiles' download website gives access to many kinds of freeware, and free trials of shareware. Before they list a program, they install and test it themselves.
Snapfiles provides Editor’s Selections, where various software categories are gathered into popular subjects. Checking out their data on Top 100 Downloads shows how many times it has been downloaded recently. But keep in mind a frequently downloaded software tool is not necessarily one that will fit your needs.
This site provides posts about what’s trending and a How-To section with such topics as wiping a hard-drive, system crash repair, Facebook tips, and more. I like the fact that you can enter a search term in Freeware Files’ search box on the home page, and it produces a sortable list of rated software products.
Also check out their Top 5 articles that have useful summaries. I did feel like this site was rather cluttered though.
Having been around for more than ten years, Techpout is composed of dedicated technology enthusiasts and writers. Their easy-to-navigate site has a convenient drop down menu that shows their categories.
The Top 10 page has many informative, convenient articles. Visitors to their site will be brought up-to-date in the realm of technology by checking out the reviews, articles, and tutorials.
Created by one individual, PerfectGeeks has a convenient search box for quick results. The Top Freeware page will help you save money by aiding in your search for freeware.
We also recommend clicking on the sitemap button to quickly scroll through and find a topic that interests you. The sitemap contains over 150 useful articles and reviews. Though we are of the opinion that it is important to be wary of 3rd party reviews.
Started in 2005, this website allows freeware downloads with only one click. When I entered the search term “screenshot” in their search box I was pleased with the results. The list was organized into “screenshot – Downloads”, “screenshot – More Free Software”, “Latest free software”, and “Popular downloads”.
The downloads are sorted into categories and have a brief description with each. You may also enjoy checking out their Facebook page.
Summary of Gizmo Freeware Alternatives
If you already know you want software that is 100% free, these resources can certainly come in handy. Most of our own Doakio software comparison studies include paid and free solutions, and it’s simply a matter of flipping the switch to “Free” to find solutions in a given category that fit even the slimmest of budgets:
But remember: time is money. If your software isn’t saving you time, free might end up being more expensive than a paid solution. Get rigorous. Evaluate the performance of free and paid solutions and measure how much time you are saving when considering a software solution that you might end up using for months or even years.
There is no law that says free software needs to be inferior to commercial software. But generally speaking funds can help sustain developers, and allow them to provide better support over the life of their products. Even free software devs appreciate the occasional donation. So be generous, and show the devs some love!